Methane is the second biggest contributor to climate change, after carbon dioxide. It is also a potent local air pollutant causing serious health problems. Tackling methane emissions is therefore essential to reaching Member States' 2030 climate targets and the 2050 climate neutrality goal, as well as contributing to the European Commission's zero-pollution ambition.
The Commission has now presented its EU strategy to reduce methane emissions which sets out measures to cut methane emissions in Europe and internationally. It presents legislative and non-legislative actions in the energy, agriculture and waste sectors, which account for around 95% of methane emissions associated with human activity worldwide. The Commission will work with the EU's international partners and with industry to achieve emission reductions along the supply chain.
Activities funded under the EU agri-food promotion policy contribute effectively to its general objective, have been implemented relatively efficiently, are generally coherent with other EU policies and have a clear EU added value.
These are among the key findings of a new evaluation support study on the impact of the EU agricultural promotion policy – internal and third countries markets 2016 to 2019, published by the European Commission.
The objective of the EU’s promotion policy for agricultural and food products is to boost competitiveness and consumption of EU products in and outside the EU. Promotion measures contribute to raising consumer awareness of the merits of the EU’s agricultural products and production methods, as well as the awareness and recognition of EU quality and organic farming schemes. Main activities include outreach and promotion activities carried out by producers and trade organisations, participation in trade fairs in and outside the EU, high-level missions with participation of EU producers, and media campaigns.
Read more about how this study will feed into an overall review of the policy planned for 2021, aimed at enhancing its contribution to sustainable production and consumption in line with the Commission’s Farm to fork strategy’s objectives.
Livestock farms play essential roles in Europe’s rural economy and findings from two recently published studies underline this point.
A study published last week on the future of EU livestock highlights changing demand for livestock products in response to evolving consumer patterns and draws attention to the variety of benefits that can result from sustainable approaches to improving livestock productivity. It notes that “Climate, health and animal welfare should be placed at the heart of innovation for the livestock farming systems of tomorrow”.
Whilst food and climate actions often grab the headlines of stories about livestock farming’s future, animal welfare issues are also very important for the sustainable development of rural Europe - in the long, medium and short-term.
Animal welfare improvements can have direct economic advantages for livestock farmers and another recent study on this topic has been published by the Italian National Rural Network. Their report titled: Animal welfare in the rural development programme for the 2014-2020 period in the European Union is focused on the Common Agricultural Policy and it explores how Member States are using measures that support the well-being of farmed animals.
A public consultation by the European Commission aims to gather information and feedback from stakeholders and the wider public in relation to the impact of the CAP on biodiversity, soil and water. An online questionnaire is available until 22 October 2020.
The consultation contributes to an upcoming Commission staff working document on the evaluation of the impact of the CAP with respect to natural resources, complementing previous studies and the ongoing evaluation on the impact of the CAP on soil.
The first of the series of four meetings of the dedicated ENRD Thematic Group (TG) contributed to developing the EU 'Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas' as announced by the President of the European Commission. The Vision should 'enable rural communities to make the most of their potential and support them in facing up to their own unique set of issues, from demographic change to connectivity, the risk of poverty and limited access to services'.
The ENRD TG’s first meeting on the European Green Deal (EGD) defined the specific topics that the TG will address in its further work until May 2021. The objectives were: to provide an overview of the EGD policies / actions that have most relevance to rural areas and agriculture; to clarify the role of CAP in the delivery of EGD environmental and climate objectives and discuss and to validate the specific working topics of the TG.
The presentations from the day are available on the event page, together with short videos and other relevant background documents.
The European Commission has launched a public consultation on the Long-Term Vision for Rural Areas. To achieve such a vision, it is necessary to assess what life is like in the rural areas of Europe and map out what is key for their prosperity. This public consultation will contribute to this process by gathering the perception and views of Europeans on a range of issues including:
- The needs of rural areas today
- What makes rural areas attractive
- Opportunities for the future of rural areas
- Governance in rural areas
If you are interested in the future of EU rural areas and their inhabitants, participate and share your opinion by 30 November 2020. The questionnaires are available in some or all official EU languages and you can submit your responses in any official EU language.
Nearly three out of four Europeans are aware of the common agricultural policy (CAP) and consider all citizens benefit from it, according to the latest EU-wide Eurobarometer survey of public opinion about agriculture and the CAP published by the European Commission.
Nearly all respondents (95%) think that agriculture and rural areas are important for ‘our future’ in the European Union. Moreover, the survey shows that more EU citizens are aware of the CAP and believe that the CAP benefits all citizens, not only farmers.
Regarding rural areas, citizens believe that the environment and landscape (82%), access to leisure and cultural activities (56%) and educational facilities (54%) can be qualified as good. However, when asked how rural areas have evolved in the last 10 years, access to high speed internet is highlighted as the one that improved most (55% agree), while job opportunities is the one seen as having got worse (42% agree).
The EU Green Deal map is an emerging and evolving effort by the European Committee of the Regions (CoR) to show the steps being taken across the EU by regions and cities to decarbonise the European economy.
The map shows how individual communities are transforming their way of living and working, of producing and consuming, and how they are trying to achieve environmentally sustainable and socially and economically just growth.
Local best practices can be shared with the CoR via a link on the map page.
Fuller details about CoR's Green Deal Going Local working group and its legislative and political work area available in the report 'The Green Deal goes local!'